6 Travel Tips For Your Batanes Trip

[Originally published on aynbernos.net on May 23, 2014]

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Batanes is one of the most breathtaking places I have ever visited here in the Philippines, and perhaps even in the world. If you’re the outdoorsy type with an appreciation for culture and history, then Batanes should have a slot in your bucketlist.

The simplicity of the Ivatan people paired with the grandeur of its landscapes–it’s my personal brand of paradise, if you ask me. Traveling to this beautiful island is an opportunity that will always get me smiling and wishing that I could go back.

Next time, though, I won’t make the same mistakes–I really wish I had taken those travel tips more seriously! Lucky for some of you, you get to learn from my experience! I visited last January 2014, and here are what I learned from my trip:

 

1. Know what to wear and what NOT to wear

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Batanes has a really nice, windy climate–something quite unfamiliar and foreign to the typical Metro Manila resident. I made the mistake of packing too many sleeveless tops and flowy skirts, and not enough pants or jackets. Sure, the sun can be pretty high up and the photos can be quite misleading, but–and I cannot emphasize this enough–it will get seriously chilly too. During nights and some mornings, the wind will be cold. Batanes’ location is very prone to calamities and the houses are made to resist virtually any thunderstorm–so do you think your ultra-thin sando is going to keep you comfy? I don’t think so.

Bottomline: pack smart. Bring those summer clothes, but do not forget to pack your jackets and leggings and comfy outfits, because it is going to be a loooong windy ride.

 

2. Book early and read online reviews

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Batanes, unlike other tourist-friendly places here in the Philippines, is not as big in the accommodation department. The number of resorts and hotels in this island isn’t as many as in Boracay, or Bohol, or Palawan. If you want to get the accommodation you want, you may have to book months early, or even a year early if you really wanna be sure. Most of the places here don’t have many rooms, so you’re in for tight competition. However, things can go smoothly for you if you…

 

3. Just go ahead and get Batanes Travel and Tours as your travel agency (!!!!!)

(Nope, they aren’t paying me to write this haha) I’ve traveled to a bunch of places and most times I don’t recommend going with agencies, but Batanes is one of the few exceptions. You see, Batanes is unlike the typical tourist spot. You can’t just plan your itinerary and expect public transportation or random food establishments to make things easy for you, because there aren’t going to be many. In fact, as far as I know, most of the tourist spots there are pretty isolated, too. Can you imagine getting to a beautiful, scenic view, and then realizing that you’re hungry as hell and the next food place is located… umm… kilometers away?? It just isn’t worth the hassle.

Plus, with Batanes Travel and Tours, you can  have a tour guide, your private car, and a driver, too. They can also assist you with your accommodation. And best of all, they have beautiful meals set up in the most amazing places. Dinner by the lighthouse, lunch by the hills. Oh my Lord are you kidding me, isn’t THAT a whole lot better?

4. If you don’t like where you’re staying, remember that you can always look for a better place

Our first accommodation almost spoiled our trip because of so many reasons, but I was really glad that we got to move to a better one. You can easily stroll around and check some small inns and hotels. Some of the them aren’t easily available in the internet, so to my surprise, there are good ones that are actually available for occupancy, too!

 

5. Don’t expect to be able to use your mobile data while on vacation

Only a few hotels offer free wi-fi, and your mobile data will probably be unavailable while you’re there, so I suggest that you just put your iPads and laptops and phones away for the mean time. You didn’t spend so much money just so you can look at your devices. Seriously, 3 to 4 days isn’t going to end your social life. In fact, it might even make you appreciate life even more.  (Texting and calling is possible though. Hehe)

 

6. Take in as much memories as you can, take pictures, and savor each moment

Batanes is a rare beauty that is beautifully preserved by equally beautiful people. Talk to the natives, learn about their culture, appreciate nature, and live life in Batanes. It’s one of a kind.